Tuki and Moka, A Tale of Two Tamarins

written by Judy Young

Eduardo, who helps his father gather nuts in the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador, befriends two little tamarins, Tuki and Moka. But suddenly, Tuki and Moka are missing and Eduardo suspects they have been illegally captured by animal traffickers. Can Eduardo save his friends?


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ISBN: 978-1-58536-795-5 Category:

Written by Judy Young
Illustrated by Tim Madsen

Published by Sleeping Bear Press, 2013

Hard Cover, 32 pages


  • 2015 Storytelling World Honor Award for Pre-Adolescent Listeners
  • 2014 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People by the Children’s Book Council (CBC) and the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)


Kirkus Review: “When animal hijackers capture his favorite tamarins, a young boy living near the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador comes to the rescue in this latest in the Tales of the World series… When Eduardo arrives at the town market, he follows the sound of familiar chattering into a tent where he discovers Tuki, Moka and macaws in cages and must use his wits to free them. With its pedagogical focus, the text touches on Brazil nut harvesting, unique rain-forest animals and rare-animal trafficking, and the author’s note elaborates on each. Smooth, photorealistic illustrations appear digitally rendered and effectively capture the drama of the rain forest and its verdant flora and exotic fauna through an arresting use of light, shadow, color and perspective.”

Publishers Weekly: “In this adventurous addition to the Tales of the World series, Young takes readers to Ecuador, where a boy named Eduardo and his castañero father hunt for Brazil nuts to be sold at market. Eduardo is accompanied by Tuki and Moka, a pair of playful wild tamarins (small monkeys); during their travels, father and son notice several other native animals, including macaws, a tapir, and a large rodent called an agouti. One morning, Eduardo discovers that the macaws’ tree has been cut down, the birds likely stolen by animal traffickers; at the market, he learns that the traffickers have also taken the two tamarins, and he attempts a risky rescue. Young includes many details about Eduardo’s life in Ecuador… Madsen’s illustrations are well-suited to the drama of the story and its lush setting, his craquelure-textured images glowing with light filtered through the rainforest trees.”

The Midwest Book Review: “Set near and in the lush rainforests of Ecuador, Tuki and Moka: A Tale of Two Tamarins is a beautifully illustrated children’s picturebook about the tragedy of wildlife trafficking. Young Eduardo and his father earn their living gathering nuts from the rainforest and Eduardo is amazed by many of the jungle animals, including two playful tamarins (a type of small, orange-furred monkey). Suddenly, Eduaurdo’s animal friends go missing — what could have happened to them? Eduardo confronts danger for the sake of helpless animals in this captivating tale with a strong moral message.”